Spa Design Takes Cues from Tropical Setting

By Judy Singer, ISHC - HFD & Sandy Dickerson, ESa
National Hotel Executive, March 2003

Overlooking Meads Bay in Anguilla, British West Indies, a pristine white structure sits serenely on a bluff in stark contrast to the brilliant blue-green hues of the water below. Equipped to provide the world vacationer with an exquisite experience, this luxury spa opened in November 2002 as the newest addition to the Malliouhana resort, which is nestled on a tiny island in the Caribbean.

The design charge was the creation of a new structure with its own identity that, at the same time, seamlessly blends with the resort's existing hotel and villas.

The 15,000-square-foot freestanding spa, which caters to both men and women, was designed by Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. (ESa), a Nashville, Tennessee-based architectural and interior design firm. Health Fitness Dynamics, Inc. (HFD), a Pompano Beach, Florida spa planning, marketing and management company, was the spa consultant to provide a turnkey service from concept through opening. HFD and ESa collaborated on the design direction to make sure the spa flow was comfortable for guests, operationally efficient for staff, able to generate revenues for the owners and had a sense-of place in terms of the views, materials and design theme of the resort.

" Our design solution involved the selection of a structural system that the island craftsmen were comfortable with," says Thom Meek, AIA, senior designer for ESa. "The system we chose is a column and beam construction using block walls, basically a concrete rendered structure."

Owners of the resort, Nigel Roydon and his father Leon Roydon, wanted the spa to have layers of highend amenities as well as the more standard and popular treatment and wet areas. To accommodate this requirement, HFD conceptualized the "spa within a spa" suite. ESa worked with HFD to design three private day suites on the second level, thereby creating privacy and exclusivity while avoiding cross integration of the a la carte treatment rooms, locker rooms, salon, boutique and fitness center on the first floor. The suites are the ultimate in pampering, privacy and convenience for guests who want a half or full day of treatments and refreshments.

Each oceanfront suite, designed for use by individuals and couples, has a private balcony well positioned to take in the views of the sunset and ocean, a jet-action whirlpool treatment tub, a massage and facial area, a body treatment area, indoor and outdoor lounges, a specialty shower and private bathroom vanity area. One of the suites has an outdoor couple's whirlpool, an indoor couples jet-action whirlpool treatment tub plus an indoor couples massage area.

The intention of the building's design was to maintain the outdoors-open tropical attitude of the resort's hotel. Doorways leading to the out-of-doors are designed to be left open to take advantage of the incredible views of the white sandy beach and clear blue-green water. A neutral palette with small accents of blues and greens, the terra cotta Mexican floor tile, creamy white walls, and rich walnut wood trims contribute toward the spa establishing a relationship with its setting.

The Spa has separate locker areas for men and women. The fitness center, utilized by both genders, is accessible to the right of the main lobby. Also leading off the lobby, a boutique displays a selection of spa products and spa logo wear. The clean shelving system echoes the warm honey of the bamboo floor. Bamboo flooring is also used in the adjacent salon, the locker rooms, treatment rooms and spa suites. Cane insets on the locker doors add texture, and the digital locks add security and ease. The uni-sex salon has two styling stations as well as two manicure and pedicure stations with an open window looking toward the direction of the beach. The oceanfront, indoor, air-conditioned co-ed lounge and refreshment bar is surrounded by windows that take full advantage of the ocean vista.

From the locker rooms, the hallway begins a progression toward an ocean-view lounge with the dressing, vanity and shower areas as well as steam room, sauna room and deluge shower along the way before widening to an expansive view of the beach. Bamboo, seagrass and rattan furniture pieces are used throughout the spa's interior. An inviting outdoor whirlpool has been placed at one end of the terrace. The ocean and view add the real color, as intended, to emphasize the natural beauty of the setting. Between the men's and women's locker room and directly off the outdoor oceanfront lounge are five private treatment rooms for massage, skin care and body treatments. Each treatment room has its own music system and air controls.

A Malliouhana repeat guest from Massachusetts says that he and his wife enjoy "sitting back in the whirlpool watching the tide roll in on Meads Bay before we head off to our massages. It is the epitome of luxury—as only Malliouhana can do. There is no place in the world like it."


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Health Fitness Dynamics, Inc.
1305 N.E. 23rd Avenue, Suite 2, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.A. 33062
Phone: 954-942-0049 - Fax: 954-941-0854